Phobiarama_photography by Willem Popelier.jpg

International projects bring the difficult sides of life to Aarhus Festival

This year, Aarhus Festival takes on the harder and unbearable aspects of life that we all encounter at some point. Loneliness, fear and prejudice are at the core of major projects from The Netherlands and Austria.

When Aarhus Festival takes place 31 August to 9 September it is under the three-year theme ‘Bridging’ (2017-2019). New connections between art, culture, people, genres and areas are made and as always the festive events are a main staple in the programme. However, this year will also feature focus on topics that are difficult to talk about. Through art the Festival lets the audience get up close and personal with the issues, we like to avoid.

Especially two international projects in the urban space encompasses this interpretation of ‘Bridging’:

‘Phobiarama’ is a powerful interpretation of the classical haunted house taking an audience of 20 at a time on a guided tour of our modern culture of fear. During which the personal space is challenged and provoking reactions from audience they didn’t even know they had. 

‘Phobiarama’ questions the rhetoric used by mass media and politicians that fill us with fear and delivers a massive and eye-opening experience.

Dutch artist Dries Verhoeven is behind the work and he is known for his sensational and often debated artform. ‘Phobiarama’ has just finished as part of LIFT Festival in London, where tickets were pretty much sold out. It will be the first time ‘Phobiarama’ is shown in Denmark.

Date/time: 31 August to 9 September (not 4 September)
Venue: Bispetorvet
Tickets: 85 DKK at
Age limit: 16 years
Arranged by: Aarhus Festival in collaboration with FO-Aarhus
With support from: The Performing Arts Fund NL and Beckett-Fonden 

It Does Matter Where
Austrian artist Willi Dorner is renowned for his playful and surprising work where the urban space almost always functions as the stage. This is also the case in ‘It Does Matter Where, where the humble chair takes center stage and is placed in massive numbers to make passers-by stop, think and feel how little of the urban space is dedicated to humans. 

The main event takes place on Inger Christensens Gade in the contentious neighbourhood Gellerup and connects art, people and neighbourhoods. The participating audience creates a temporary urban space where they can pause, meet each other and enjoy their place in it all.

‘It Does Matter Where’ in an interactive installation where audience (and their chairs) can participate. If you are interested in being part of it contact Marc at

Willi Dorner’s work has been displayed at several festivals in Europe and across the world. Last time he was in Denmark was in 2017 with the piece ‘Bodies in Urban Spaces’.

Date/time: 8 September 3.00-5.00 p.m.
Venue: Inger Christensens Gade, Gellerup
Tickets: Free
Arranged by: Aarhus Festival
With support from: Salling Fondene and Wilhelm Kiers Fond